Eric Schmidt has resigned from Apple's board today citing a conflict of interest. Apple (Steve Jobs, in fact) says that "Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric's effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest." Android and Chrome OS -- something had to give, but the timing sure does make it seem like that Google Voice app rejection might have really hurt someone's feelings.
The truth is, it's been a tangled web for some time as far as the relationship between Apple and Google goes. Sure, Schmidt sat on the board, the companies claim to be working on new projects, and Google Maps comes preloaded onto the iPhone, but over the past year, Google's increasing move into Apple's space, and Apple's increasing desire to control every inch of that space have not been good bedfellows. It's hard to imagine that Apple could maintain a completely healthy relationship with a direct competitor in both the phone and OS space for very long, and that's to say nothing of Cupertino's latest push into online document editing and management, which couldn't have seemed very awesome to Schmidt and company. Oh, and there's that matter of the antitrust case which is currently ongoing. Still, it's a bit sad to see this power couple going their separate ways, though it does give us some hope that Google will begin a full assault with Android in earnest, because only sweet stuff could come from those efforts. If you're interested, the full PR is after the break.
Update: The FTC says it's going to continue investigating the two companies for "remaining interlocking directorates," so Apple and Google aren't totally out of the woods, but we don't think anything else major is in store here.
Dr. Eric Schmidt Resigns from Apple's Board of Directors
CUPERTINO, California-August 3, 2009-Apple today announced that Dr. Eric Schmidt, chief executive officer of Google, is resigning from Apple's Board of Directors, a position he has held since August 2006.
"Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple's core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric's effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple's Board."
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.